History-1900+

Thirty Years Ago, Lithuania Faced Its Moment of Truth

Victor Nakas. Imagine a world in which your local university offers a course in modern Lithuanian history. Of course you’ve enrolled and now it’s time for your final exam.  Your first essay question reads “What were the five most important milestones in 20th century Lithuanian history? Why?” How would you …

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Chicago’s Lithuanian Opera is Preserved for the Ages. Digital technology helps archive a major Lithuanian cultural achievement

Dr. Darius Kučinskas. To mark the upcoming centennial of Lithuanian opera, the Martynas Mažvydas National Library in Vilnius, in cooperation with the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture, has initiated a project to digitize the videotapes of Chicago’s Lithuanian opera productions. Cameraman and photographer Aleksandras Plenys undertook the original videotaping from …

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Bestselling author Gediminas Kulikauskas: Publishing is like a lottery

Linas Jegelevičius, Representing Draugas News in Lithuania. There are books that are so riveting that you just can’t put them down. Two books by Gediminas Kulikauskas, Contraband of Oranges and The Lithuanian Code, both bestsellers, are among my favorite reads. Their author, who also wrote, Electricity Boycott and The Republic …

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Shtetl Love Song

Vin Katilius-Boydstun.     There is no universally agreed-on definition of a shtetel. According to professor of Jewish history, Yohannan Petrovsky-Shtern, what became known in Yiddish as the shtetel grew out of the “Polish private town,” the property of Polish magnates during the time of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, continuing as such …

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Viktoras Petravičius: Master of the Monoprint

By Izida Petravičiūtė von Braun In 1978, in the journal Lituanus, Professor Stasys Goštautas of Boston University, wrote about Petravičius and his art as follows: “Never since the delightful graphic art of the primitive and anonymous artists of the eighteenth century, has Lithuanian art exhibited such a pure and candid …

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The Kurnėnai School and Laurent Radziukynas

By Gediminas Indreika. West of Alytus, between the Aniškis forest and Luksnėnu lake, lies the village of Kurnėnai. In the 1880s Laurynas (Laurent) Radziukynas trekked 8 kilometers daily to the nearest school in Miroslavas, a hardship that would leave an indelible impression in the boy’s mind. In 1934, as a …

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WHEN THE MOUSE REALLY ROARED. Remembering the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the end of the USSR

Victor Nakas. Walk to the White House As we approached the northwest gate of the White House, we expected that our Lincoln sedan would just drive through. Instead, the guards told us to get out and walk through the pedestrian entrance. There they checked our IDs and riffled through the …

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Fallout: Filming Chernobyl in Vilnius

Linas Jegelevičius. Fabijoniškės, a dreary residential district in the northern part of Vilnius, has recently become a major tourist draw. The Soviet-style high-rise apartment complex built in the late 1980s served as the production site for the television event of the year, the HBO miniseries “Chernobyl,” that dramatized the 1986 …

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Rescuing Jewish documentary heritage

By Lara Lempertienė. The topic of Jewish documentary materials preserved in the libraries and archives of Lithuania is complex. These holdings were not formed in any purposeful or planned way, but rather were simply stored after surviving the Nazi occupation as well as later Soviet purges. The materials ended up …

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There were Forest Sisters too

Much has been written of the Forest Brothers, Lithuanian partisans who took cover in the woods after the second Soviet occupation of Lithuania in 1944. For nearly a decade they waged a guerilla war against the Soviet occupiers. But what about the Forest Sisters? Although they received less attention, women, …

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